John Smith

John Smith

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John Smith
Height 6'2" (188 cm)
Weight 183 lbs (83 kg)
PR 100y – 9.4 (1971); 220y – 20.7 (1970); 400 – 44.2y (1971); LJ – 7.43 (24-4½) (1968)
Born August 5, 1950 at Los Angeles, CA
High School Fremont HS
College UCLA '72
Club Southern California Striders

John Walton Smith (1950-) was AAU 440y champion in 1970-71, breaking the world record with 44.5 for 440y at the 1971 meet, which still stands. He also won the NCAA Championships in 1971-72, running for UCLA. Smith won the 400m in the 1971 Pan American Games with a 44.60.

Smith came to UCLA in 1969 from Fremont HS in Los Angeles. During his three-year prep career, Smith was the city champ in the 440 yard dash (47.5), long jump (24-5) and on an 880-yard relay team.

He participated on two Bruin squads that were NCAA team champs in 1971 and '72.

Individually, Smith was the 1972 NCAA champ in the 400m (44.5) and the 440-yard dash (45.3) champ in 1971 and ran on four (1969-72) championship mile relay teams. In the Pac-10, he was on two UCLA league championships (1970, '72) and was the conference's 440-yard (45.9) titlist in 1970. In all, during his UCLA years, he was on four American- record one-mile relay teams (the only collegiate runner on those relays) and holds the NCAA and world records in the 440.

Smith was world-ranked #1 in 1971 and was the likely favorite for the 1972 Summer Olympics 400m. He made the final but an injured hamstring caused him to pull up on the first curve of the final and he did not finish. He had also made the team for the 4 x 400m relay, but his injury prevented him from competing in that event as well.

After the Olympics, he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and remained with the club until 1974.

From 1975-80, Smith continued to rank as one of the world's most talented sprinters. From 1975-76, he was one of the world's top quarter-milers in the International Track and Field Association circuit. From 1978-79, running pro track in Melbourne, Australia, he broke every professional record in the 400 meters, 440 yards, 500 meters, 500 yards and 600 meters.

Smith remained an active track participant until 1980, when he incurred an Achilles tendon injury that required two surgeries. That season he had run the fastest indoor time in the 400m.

Smith has since became a well-known sprint coach. He was an assistant track coach for sprinters at UCLA for 17 years. He coaches world class runners including world record holders Maurice Greene (who retired in 2008) and Ato Boldon (who retired in 2004) as part of his HSI sprint club. In an open letter purportedly from Boldon, he accused Smith of doping some of his athletes and deceiving him.[1]

In 1987, Smith was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame.[2] In addition to his coaching duties that keep him in the Los Angeles area, Smith also has an acting career in television and motion pictures. Smith is married to the former Alecia Molezion, and they have a daughter, Noelle Dominique.


External links


  1. Walsh, David. "Questions of doubt surround Maurice Green", The Times, 2008-04-27. Retrieved on 2009-08-31.
  2. Retrieved 2008-12-11.